Job Titles

"What is your job title?" 

Over the course of my career my official job title has changed several times.  I have been titled a

  • programmer
  • programmer analyst 
  • developer 
  • systems developer
  • systems engineer
  • software engineer
  • system software engineer
  • CAD developer
  • senior system software developer
  • senior software engineer

 to name a few.  The field of software engineering distinguishes itself from most of the engineering fields in that you don't need to pass any exams or even any formal education to claim a job title.  At my job with the public school district they asked me what my job title was.  I could have said it was Supreme Software Commander and they would have happily printed my buisness cards with that title.  As it was my business cards said I was a Sr. Software Engineer but, looking back, I would hardly have called myself a senior.

My point is that people who call themselves any software related title are really just making it up.  From doing interviews I have seen a lot of resumes and too many people highlight their job title like it is something they have worked hard to achieved.  I'm not saying that they haven't worked hard, but it is totally disconnected from what ever title they give themselves.  The first does not automatically lead to the second and the second does not require the first. 

So what is my job title?  I suppose I'll have to go with the simple Systems Developer.  I like the idea that I build systems rather than just simple software solutions.  You can slap a senior on the front there if you feel my work experience qualifies it as such, or a junior if you feel I am vastly unqualified.  The title doesn't much matter to me as long as the work is challenging and interesting.